By Victoria Thompson
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — With nine years of experience in U.S. Army chaplaincy, Chaplain Carson Jump is a family man serving the Lord alongside his wife and their five children.
With the help of his family and an amazing group of volunteers, Chaplain Jump leads the Hohenfels Youth of the Chapel. As an observer controller, he also helps other unit ministry teams grow and improve.
We asked Chaplain Jump some questions about his work, and how his efforts here in Bavaria help strengthen our community.
What role do you think chaplains play in the community?
Chaplains are pastors. If a chaplain confuses his role, then chaplains become irrelevant to the community. The Army community needs chaplains who identify as pastors in action, caring and providing for the Soldiers and families.
What made you want to be a chaplain?
My father was an Army officer who loved the Lord. Although I did not think of the chaplaincy growing up, I felt called at an early age to full-time ministry. While in Bible College, an active-duty chaplain spoke at our mission’s conference who presented the chaplaincy as a place to minister the gospel. The Lord used this encounter to draw me to serve as an active-duty chaplain. My desire since a child was to serve in the Army like my dad. God put together two desires I had: to serve God and my country.
What does being a chaplain mean to you?
A chaplain is someone who cares and provides for Soldiers and families. Although much different from a local church, I view my role as a pastor to whatever unit or duty station I am assigned. A pastor cares for the people God has placed under him. Yes, we ensure to uphold the first amendment “which prohibits enactment of any law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” (AR 165-1 para 1-6 a.). Individual chaplains interpret caring for Soldiers and families differently based on strengths. However — bottom line — all chaplains would agree it is about loving those God has placed under your care.
What do you enjoy most about working with the Hohenfels Youth of the Chapel?
The students and volunteers make working with HYOC worth every moment. Students desire a place to separate from the cares of day-to-day, interacting with students of faith, but more so interacting with the adult volunteers who consistently show their support. Volunteers make Hohenfels chapel programs possible. Last summer when I volunteered to lead the YOC program, volunteers came alongside me to make it happen. The HYOC has six dedicated couples who support the youth on a weekly basis. Their dedication is what makes the ministry enjoyable. Here is an example of our volunteer dedication here in Hohenfels. Katherine King approached me last summer asking how I plan to provide food weekly during the two age groups. My answer was, “Well we will use youth funds to purchase food from commissary, but that is far as I have thought.” She said, “Okay let me handle the rest.” Every week since that conversation, she has provided a meal for the 30-35 students and volunteers. Others like the Luke and Christy Hearn, Dan and Jenny Dipzinski, Joe and Robyn Scibbe, Kristen Shain, and Chevon Workman have poured time and effort into the students at YHOC. It is a joy to watch how God has provided and continues to work in students’ lives through the dedicated volunteers of Hohenfels.
What is an observer controller and why is it important?
Observer Coach Trainers are the premier training force for today’s Army. OCTs validate and evaluate units preparing for our country’s future conflicts and wars. A chaplain OCT validates and evaluates chaplains and chaplain assistants during the month-long rotation. It is an opportunity for unit ministry teams to grow their capabilities and receive coaching along the way. The infantry focus on putting bullets downrange, while UMTs focus on empowering their command teams to make timely and efficient decisions through advising the command on morals and ethics with a unique perspective.
What is your favorite Bible verse?
My favorite Bible verse is Proverbs 3:5-6. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.” This verse would sum up the past year with the HYOC. God provided the volunteers who faithfully serve. This ministry would not be possible without trusting in his provision.
What’s next for you?
My family and I will most likely PCS in winter of 2018. Our desire is to serve where Soldiers and families are, and our mission is to share and show the love of Jesus, centered on the Gospel.
Photo Credit: Victoria Thompson